Several studies show tree stand accidents cause the most injuries for deer hunters every year.
With Oklahoma's archery deer season underway - the woods are already crawling with hunters, but tree stand safety cannot be overlooked, and it all starts with your safety harness.
It’s an excitement like no other - hunters climbing into their stands, hoping a deer walks by, but it's important to put safety first to make sure you make it back home.
"It is often overlooked by a lot of hunters,” says Matt Reeves, a Park Ranger at Keystone Lake. “We receive a lot of reports and we have to respond to quite a few events a year to where hunters have actually worn their harness improperly or they've not worn it at all and they've fallen out of their tree."
Each harness is different so be sure you follow the instruction for your specific brand before climbing up a tree.
Once you are up in the stand. Having your safety harness on isn't enough. You want to make sure you are hooked to the tree.
Once you clip in make sure your harness is tight,” says Reeves. “Some of these have a lead on the back. Make sure that it's fairly tight as you are sitting not standing."
After you are secured to the tree, the next step is getting your weapon up in the tree stand. You want to use a rope to pull your weapon up to your stand so you are hands free when you are climbing up.
"We've had a couple instances where someone is climbing up that ladder or tree steps, they've got a bow in their hand, and actually put an arrow through their leg or worst case their upper body, as they fall,” says Reeves.
Reeves says if something does happen, it's important to always have some sort of device to get ahold of someone for help.
"Hunting is fun,” says Reeves. “Everyone enjoys it when they are outdoors. You're not only getting to hunt but you're also enjoying what Oklahoma has to offer in the outdoors, however safety is a big concern and you want to make it home."